As much as Michael Sweet is moving forward with One Sided War (buy) and Stryper’s latest long player Fallen (buy), he and the band are also looking back in honor of To Hell With The Devil (buy). Believe it or not, it’s been thirty years since the landmark album scored a GRAMMY nomination, became the first ever Christian metal album to go platinum and propelled the group to being the first from any genre to simultaneously have two videos in MTV’s Top 10.
Here’s a further flashback to those prime days of “The Yellow And Black Attack” in advance of the foursome’s fall tour, where they will not only play the album in its entirely alongside other hits, but also dust off the original costumes and pump up the production.
CCM Magazine: What did it feel like being one of the biggest bands in the land around the time of To Hell With The Devil?
Michael Sweet: Crazy. It was a rush. We were kids just enjoying the ride and not really thinking about how, why, what and where. It was such a blur because it got so big, so fast. We were just kind of wide-eyed and it was a “deer-in-the-headlights” kind of a thing. I think you see that in some of our old photos and some of the video for sure backstage. What is going on?
CCM: How would you describe Stryper’s tangible success during those years to people who weren’t old enough to remember?
MS: Oh my gosh. We were playing arenas and selling lots of albums at gold and platinum status. It was crazy. I mean big productions, big tours, three bus tours, three semis with big lights and sound. It was massive. It was a big deal, but it was short-lived. I mean the heyday was definitely from like 1986 to maybe ‘89. Before that and after that were some great times too and still on a very big level, but that was the heyday and those were the times that were definitely astonishing to us. It blew our minds because we were so young and we didn’t really know what to think of it all.
CCM: What can everyone expect from this anniversary tour?
MS: We’ve got a really cool video that we’re gonna play before the show. It’s like seven or eight minutes and shows a bunch of footage. It’s narrated by me and it shows pictures and footage that you’ve never seen before with almost a mini-documentary feel. I talk about all of us, how we formed, show some MTV footage and it ends with a countdown of us going into the show. Then we’re going to do the album in its entirety from start to finish, which includes some songs that we haven’t played since ‘86. Then we’re gonna go right from that into nine or ten other songs, so it’s gonna be unlike any set that we’ve ever done before. We’re wearing the old costumes. We don’t have all the hair that we had before, otherwise we would do that to. We’re just gonna go out there, have fun and try to give people a glimpse of what it would’ve been like if you came to a show and saw Stryper in ‘86.